3rd ID Trained and Ready for Deployment - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports


3rd ID Trained and Ready for Deployment

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch

One brigade is already in Kuwait on its way to Iraq. In the next few months, first in mid March, then mid May, and finally June, the rest of the 3rd Infantry Division will follow.

It's a deployment that comes two to three months faster than originally expected, the result of President Bush's plan to increase troop levels by 21,000 soldiers. But Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the 3rd ID commander, says the plan doesn't come at the expense of training for his soldiers.

"We as an Army, and we as a division, will not send untrained or poorly equipped soldiers on combat operations," said Gen. Lynch.

That's the message the general wanted to get out to everyone. At a media luncheon at Fort Stewart, he said his soldiers will be well-trained and ready to go to Iraq when the call comes. That call could send the 2nd and 3rd Brigades to the center of the action in Baghdad.

"The insurgents realize that the eyes of the world are on Baghdad," said Lynch. "So goes Baghdad, so goes the rest of Iraq.

"Security has to be job one," he added. "Create a secure environment and everything else might, might flourish."

The 3rd ID 1st Brigade Combat team left home earlier this month and is currently staged in Kuwait. Soon they are off to the Al-Anbar province in western Iraq.

Lynch says he knows how hard it is for the families left behind to see their loved ones go into battle again, but he wants them to stay strong, so the soldiers can concentrate on their jobs.

"If you are deployed in combat operations spending all your time worrying about your family, your morale is not good," according to Lynch. "If your wife, your spouse says things here are going fine, you're okay, we're okay, then they're going to be just fine. So if I can keep the families' morale up, I can keep the soldiers' morale up as well."

Lynch says the 3rd ID soldiers face a daunting challenge, but not an impossible one. Fourteen of 18 provinces are already secure. The next job will be to stabilize the others, and gain the trust of the Iraqi people, so progress toward democracy can continue.

"There are 26 million Iraqis and only ten to fifteen thousand insurgents," said Lynch. "Taking these 26 million Iraqis there and make them love the coalition, make them glad we're there because we're bettering their society. That's what we have to do every day."

Lynch says while he hopes the troop surge will help, Americans shouldn't count on a quick resolution to the war.

Lynch believes conflicts like this take up to nine years to complete. He will be on hand to help his soldiers this time around. He plans to deploy to Iraq himself in June, and will be in charge of military operations in one half of the country.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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